Education is the best investment you can make. It is no secret that getting a master’s degree can significantly boost your career. It can result in higher pay and a corner office at a prestigious company with a prestigious title. Other than that, you can switch your career with a master’s degree too. Now, what if you want all these benefits but do not have the time to go to university and sit through physical classes? Solution: Online master’s degree programs!
Of course, someone who has studied in a traditional university setting may find the idea of distance learning quite daunting. That is why we have rounded up some tips for you to combat this fear and successfully acquire your master’s degree online.
Online education comes with various perks, including deciding your own schedule and working at your own pace. However, it would be best if you stuck to the timetables you make, even when you feel like giving up. This is where your real motivation for pursuing a degree comes into play. Write down your purposes and reasons for pursuing the degree and place them somewhere you can see them frequently. This will remind you why you are here in the first place and help you discipline yourself to get things done. For instance, a social sciences major may want to switch their career to business management and finance. However, if the individual needs to keep working at their current job to pay their tuition fee, they may choose to pursue MBA programs online. However, managing a day job and squeezing their assignments in between is no ordinary feat. The only thing that can get them through is having their eyes fixed on their goal and hustling for it with discipline.
Master time management
As an independent online student, you will probably need to fix your routine. Determine certain hours in your day, for instance, after work, if you function best at night, and take your classes at that time. In order to stay focused, set aside a specific place for studying. This way, whenever you come to this place, your mind will automatically get into the studying zone. Similarly, set aside time to do your assignments and projects. It is recommended to start early to avoid missing out on deadlines. This applies to exam preparations as well. Starting in advance and pacing your revisions will help avoid last-minute cramming. In case you find yourself not being able to focus properly, try to write down things that are occupying your thoughts. Another helpful tip for combating distraction and procrastination is a technique called deep work. It allows you to understand your study preferences and maximizes your results by reducing distractions.
Communication is key
Online education does not have a physical classroom setting. That means you will not physically interact with your classmates as you would in a brick-and-mortar college-style classroom. However, it doesn’t have to be this distant and alone. There is almost always some sort of discussion forum in which you are highly encouraged to participate. You will certainly be given emails and contact sources to reach out to your teachers and teaching assistants (TA). They are there to help you and will probably be happy to guide you.
Furthermore, you could join Facebook groups of your batch and classes to communicate with your peers. Don’t hesitate to seek help! You may learn tips and tricks from your seniors and peers about managing an online school.
Aside from this, if you want to get feedback on an assignment from your teachers, you could ask for a one-on-one session on Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. Not only will this help you clarify your concepts, but it will also help you build a relationship with your professors and make you feel more connected to your class.
Use your resources and student support
Feeling anxious about not having enough resources and guidance to complete your assignments and projects is common. Rest assured, you have nothing to worry about. Online students are generally provided with all the details and resources, such as textbooks, access to online libraries, etc., to do their work. Some universities may use software such as Learning Management System (LMS) to manage coursework online and issue grades, remarks, and feedback. Support is not just limited to academics but extends to career advisory, writing centers, tutorials, and IT support. You could reach out for advice about what you can do with your degree. If, for instance, you are writing a major paper, you could seek help from your university’s writing center to help you phrase your ideas better. If anything falls apart online, like your LMS portal crashing, get in touch with the IT support specialists, who will sort out your issue. Some universities have student facilitation systems where they can submit and request documents such as internship reports, etc. This is particularly feasible as your university may be in a different country. Get acquainted with these facilities so you can use them when necessary.
It is important to manage your expectations about online education. Just because a master’s degree is online does not make it any easier than if it were in a physical university setting. It will require the same levels of commitment and dedication as a traditional degree. It is essential to know the program’s structure, what to expect in each semester, how to submit your assignments, whether your classes will be recorded or live, etc. Further, you are advised to ensure that all your devices are up to the mark and won’t cause any hindrances in your education. While you are at it, ensure you have all the necessary applications installed, for instance, Office 365, Adobe, etc., and any specialized software such as SPSS for statistics. This way, you can get on with your classes smoothly. Being prepared beforehand will benefit you as you can tackle situations and issues when they arise and easily settle into your new routine as an online student.
With the advent of technology, more and more individuals are getting degrees and certifications online. Though it is drastically different from a regular, more traditional classroom setting, it offers the same amount of learning and adds value to an individual’s personality and skills. Moreover, online programs make higher education more accessible for people with jobs and other responsibilities. With the abovementioned tips, you should be well on your way to success. Happy learning!